NYU Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) Center for Behavioral Institutional Design (C-BID) hosted the first Behavioral Policy in MENA Summit, a first-of-its-kind event which examined the potential for further collaboration between social scientists and policymakers.
The summit featured world-renowned academics and leading UAE stakeholders including the UAE Minister of the Economy His Excellency Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri and Executive Director of Social Monitoring and Innovation at Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development Her Excellency Dr. Layla Alhyas.
They were joined by some of the world’s premier behavioral social scientists during the one-day event, along with distinguished policymakers from the UAE government and the private sector, to delve into ways researchers and policymakers can collaborate to apply the latest field research, helping create evidence-based policies that address pressing social issues in the UAE and the broader region.
During a one-on-one panel session between HE Al Marri, and accomplished journalist and author Mustafa Alrawi. The Minister highlighted the importance of collaboration between government and academia and shared his insights on how research in behavioral social science can support policy-making in line with UAE’s economic vision.
We are moving to an economy where people and data will have a major role to play. Building effective cooperation between government and academia will move us closer towards this goal by achieving three important things: a) put forward the role of evidence-based policymaking through theoretical and empirical models to test economic policies and measure their long-term impact; b) contributing to public discourse by addressing public policy challenges in the UAE; and c) supporting the development of skilled and competitive human capital in the country.
HE further underlined the prominent role of the Center for Behavioral Institutional Design (C-BID) as it supports and motivates talented students and youth, encouraging them to innovate, create, and constantly enhance their skills and abilities. The Center reflects the country’s vision to raise creative and ambitious generations capable of building a better future for all.
HE Dr. Alhyas was featured in a panel discussion with C-BID Co-Director Nikos Nikiforakis. HE Alhyas has previously collaborated with C-BID on a behavioral intervention in Abu Dhabi, which successfully nudged senior adults to engage in more physical activity. During the panel, she stressed this project's importance and how such partnerships with leading academic institutions can drive the next generation of policy.
Partnerships between academia and government not only offer great promise to advance scholarly understanding of local public service delivery but also help design effective and tailored solutions by understanding people’s needs and the root causes of prevalent issues and challenges. The Department of Community Development (DCD) collaborated with the Center of Behavioral Institutional Design at NYU Abu Dhabi to enhance the health of senior citizens in the Emirate, specifically by motivating them to engage in physical activities.
NYU Abu Dhabi is the perfect place for this conversation, because a key component of our mission is about investing in the future of the UAE and the MENA region, and in learning from each other by connecting and collaborating across borders. The UAE is forward-looking in its investments in technology, invention, and AI, but we know that the frontiers of these disciplines can be propelled only when they are well-governed by ethics, social thought, and policy. This is why we created the Center for Behavioral Institutional Design, which focuses on how behavioral science can shape policies that lead to the betterment of society at large.
World-famous academics, including Cass Sunstein from Harvard Law School, Axel Ockenfels from the University of Cologne, and Cristina Bicchieri from the University of Pennsylvania, also delivered talks on the real-world applications of their research.
The Center for Behavioral Institutional Design (C-BID) at NYUAD is a globally recognized knowledge hub for research in behavioral social science and public policy. Fully integrated within NYUAD, C-BID bridges the gap between scientific discovery and public policy by conducting cutting-edge research that has local impact and global relevance.